By weight loss of course I am referring to fat loss (emptying out fat cells to be more exact) and by obligatory eating I’m referring to eating “just because it’s there”.
Trimming the fat off your body is a constant battle in an abundant food environment combined with a fuel-efficient human system; but it can (and has) been done. Maintaining your desired body composition once you reach your goal requires just as much mental strength. I find that the biggest key to cutting down and holding it there is patience. You cannot burn as many calories through exercise or even OTC drugs in a given time period as you can by simply letting the body do its work.
Most of us have a clear idea of what foods or eating patterns improve our health and body shape while there are those eating habits that we may enjoy; but are not done in the name of physical health.
We may refer to the two sides of this dietary dichotomy as clean eating and cheating. Eating clean (or healthy) may be our usual diet with the intention to improve ourselves, while cheating (or indulging) would be everything else. (Why is it called cheating, by the way? I never gained anything of advantage by cheating on my diet. Nevertheless, there’s no fooling your body by cheating!)
Here’s an example of how obligatory eating works to your disadvantage: let’s say there’s a lot of good food around (cheat food) but you’re not hungry. So you drink water. However, you want to “fill the void” of not having cheat foods so you decide to have a meal of clean food, which you figure wouldn’t hurt. You guzzle the water and start eating clean, even though you weren’t hungry. By the time you’ve finished your clean meal, even if you have overeaten, you may get bored and desire stimulation so you start looking at the cheat food. If you start digging in, one bite leads to the next and sooner or later you’re over your calorie budget, or if you’re trying to cut, you’ve eaten just enough to wash out your fat loss for that day.
My recommendation is to step away from “good” and “bad” choices and simply eat food or not. Humans are weird in that we engage in food eating as a ritual. Since we are going to end up eating anyway, I’d say ride out your resolve and fortitude until you really want to eat. Then, since we like making “good” choices first anyway, you can eat whatever you consider clean, like a delicious watermelon or a good simple salad, and then stop eating when you’re satisfied with that meal. The next time you eat you can have another “clean” meal and spread out your calories over a longer time period. In other words, pace yourself, because that is your key to controlling calories, time.